Atlantic Ocean, Ocean floor

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Summary

The Atlantic Ocean is the world's second largest ocean, behind the Pacific Ocean. With a total area of about ,"The New Encyclopædia Britannica", Volume 2, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1974. p. 294 it covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. The first part of its name refers to Atlas of Greek mythology, making the Atlantic the "Sea of Atlas".

Details

The principal feature of the bathymetry (bottom topography) is a submarine mountain range called the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It extends from Iceland in the north to approximately 58° South latitude, reaching a maximum width of about . A great rift valley also extends along the ridge over most of its length. The depth of water at the apex of the ridge is less than in most places, while the bottom of the ridge is three times as deep. Several peaks rise above the water and form islands. The South Atlantic Ocean has an additional submarine ridge, the Walvis Ridge.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge separates the Atlantic Ocean into two large troughs with depths from . Transverse ridges running between the continents and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge divide the ocean floor into numerous basins. Some of the larger basins are the Blake, Guiana, North American, Cape Verde, and Canaries basins in the North Atlantic. The largest South Atlantic basins are the Angola, Cape, Argentina, and Brazil basins.

The deep ocean floor is thought to be fairly flat with occasional deeps, abyssal plains, trenches, seamounts, basins, plateaus, canyons, and some guyots. Various shelves along the margins of the continents constitute about 11% of the bottom topography with few deep channels cut across the continental rise.

Ocean floor trenches and seamounts:

Ocean sediments are composed of:

  • Terrigenous deposits with land origins, consisting of sand, mud, and rock particles formed by erosion, weathering, and volcanic activity on land washed to sea. These materials are found mostly on the continental shelves and are thickest near large river mouths or off desert coasts.
  • Pelagic deposits, which contain the remains of organisms that sink to the ocean floor, include red clays and Globigerina, pteropod, and siliceous oozes. Covering most of the ocean floor and ranging in thickness from they are thickest in the convergence belts, notably at the Hamilton Ridge and in upwelling zones.

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External Links

  • Wikipediawww.cartage.org.lb"Map of Atlantic Coast of North America from the Chesapeake Bay to Florida"

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